The rate of alloxan-induced insulin release was measured from rat islets maintained in a simple perifusion system. Insulin release during the five-minute exposure to alloxan reached its maximum rate after two to three minutes of the exposure and then rapidly declined. This insulin release was dependent upon extracellular calcium and was associated with an increased 45Ca uptake by isolated islets. Once exposed to alloxan, however, the islets did not release insulin when stimulated again with D-glucose or alloxan. These effects of alloxan on insulin release (stimulation and subsequent inhibition) and the increased 45Ca uptake were prevented by the presence of 3-0-methyl-D-glucose during the alloxan exposure. These findings indicate a close correlation between alloxan-induced insulin release and the subsequent inhibition of further insulin release.
D-glucose, when present during the entire five-minute exposure to alloxan, protected competitively against alloxan inhibition of insulin release. In addition, D-glucose, when present immediately after brief (one to three minutes) alloxan exposures, reversed some of the subsequent inhibition of insulin release. These findings suggest that alloxan and D-glucose were competing for a common site on the β-cell. The possibility of this site being a receptor responsible for the initiation of insulin release is discussed.